Headline Headaches: Alcohol, Coffee and Liver Cancer

22007913_sLast week’s release of our latest report from the Continuous Update Project, on liver cancer, received excellent press coverage, for which we are grateful. We know how tough it can be to bottom-line the sometimes complicated findings from scientific research, and we appreciate the good work of those in the media who do so on a daily basis.

Any reporter will tell you that they write the story, but it’s their editor who writes the headlines. And today, headlines do the heavy lifting of driving web traffic and reader engagement. They are the gatekeepers who determine whether or not you click to get the full story, on skim past to the next headline. Which is why, when they’re misleading, they can do real damage.

Take this example, from a UPI story: “Coffee Erases Liver Cancer Risk Caused By Daily Alcohol Consumption.Continue reading

Three drinks a day can cause liver cancer, new report finds

An analysis of worldwide research on diet, weight, physical activity and liver cancer has found strong evidence that consuming approximately three or more alcoholic drinks a day causes liver cancer. Published today, the finding provides the clearest indication so far of how many drinks actually cause liver cancer.r-uauy

As a member of the independent panel of scientists that reviewed the worldwide research, this is a significant finding that I hope will help reduce the global number of cases of liver cancer. Currently, it’s the second most common cause of death from cancer worldwide, accounting for 746,000 deaths globally in 2012.

How alcohol causes liver cancer

Excessive alcohol consumption over a period of time can cause damage to the liver and lead to cirrhosis (scarring and hardening of the liver), which is known to increase the risk of this cancer. We know that 90-95% of liver cancer cases have underlying cirrhosis. Alcohol consumption is also carcinogenic to humans, has tumor-promoting effects, and is associated with increased body fat. The latter is a concern because obesity is a risk factor for accumulation of fat in the liver, which may lead to cirrhosis and also increase liver cancer risk. Continue reading

Make Your Burritos Green

collard-greens-burrito croppedIn honor of St. Patrick’s Day and the arrival of Spring, try our new cancer-protective recipe that will make your burritos green.

Beans and Greens Burritos are green in color and environmentally friendly (because they’re meatless). These burritos have only 120 calories each yet 6 grams of cancer-fighting fiber. Lightly cooked, collard greens have large leaves that are soft enough to chew yet firm enough to hold the black bean, brown rice and corn stuffing.

Including dark leafy greens in a meal once a day is a terrific health booster. Cook tougher greens like collards, kale, chard or spinach by steaming them or putting them in soups, stews and sauces. Expand your salads with arugula, watercress or baby spinach. You’ll get cancer-preventive carotenoids like lutein, plus calcium, potassium and some iron.

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